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Don’t Get Fooled by Chauffeur Knowledge

June 7, 2013

Filed under: Philosophy — Tags: , , , — Barry @ 10:00 AM

images-4Today’s world is quite complicated.  We live in an age of information overload.  It is difficult to feel secure in knowing that we are keeping up when so much information floods our senses everyday.

If you think that you are suffering from information overload then you may be right – a new study shows everyone is bombarded by the equivalent of 174 newspapers of data a day.

My new favorite book The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli, which I referenced in another post, discusses a way to think more critically about some of the information we are exposed to.

Question who the information is coming from.

Make sure the person who is guiding you doesn’t have another agenda.  More equipment, supplies and advice is sold by people who just don’t know what they are talking about—they have what Dobelli calls chauffeur knowledge.

What’s chauffeur knowledge?

Well it goes back to Dr. Max Planck, one of the inventors of quantum physics.  Back in 1920, before the days of television,  and the Internet, words spread very slowly.  When a famous scientist had to teach, he had to travel and give lectures.  Planck had a chauffeured car to take him all around Europe to spread the word about his new theories.

One day his chauffeur asked, “Dr. Planck, you must be tired of giving the same lecture night after night.  I know it like the back of my hand.  Would you like me to give the lecture for you tonight?”

Planck, being kind of a fun guy agreed.

So off they went, and the chauffeur gave the lecture while Planck sat in the front row, posing as…you guessed it…his chauffeur.

When the lecture ended a doctor stood and asked a question.

Without missing a beat the real chauffeur said, “I am so surprised doctor, that someone of your esteem would ask such an elemental question…as a matter of fact, the answer is so simple I will let my chauffeur answer it.”

With all of the information coming at us these days in the form of e-mail solicitations, internet advertising and the intense pressure to keep up, dentists must use their ability to think critically about who is providing the information…or they stand to use mis-information and suffer the consequences.

In today’s world, information is our currency…we can convert good knowledge, principles and information into tangible success…one way to stay safe is to watch for the chauffeur.







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  1. Nice away explain the where is our fault? where we must improve? any many more things…

    Comment by dentist in Whitchurch — June 11, 2013 @ 7:11 AM

  2. Awareness is the key.

    Comment by Barry — June 11, 2013 @ 8:28 AM

  3. You remember, of course, that Amsterdam and Cohen used to postulate that they could train a monkey to prep the teeth, it was the diagnosis and understanding the disease process that was key. I always talk about my team being AAD (not ADD) — almost a dentist. If our profession could only be so simple that our auxilliaries could do everything except diagnose. The key is in delegation. But how many of us are so enrapt with our credentials that they feel they need to be hands-on from beginning to end with a patient? Especially at our ages Barry, we need to let go, and delegate.

    Comment by Steve Markus, DMD FACE — June 12, 2013 @ 8:34 AM

  4. You’re 100% correct Steve. Everyone is a genius in this field. Everyone is a reductionist. The longer I practice the more complex the field seems to be. I am in the process of writing a post for CasePresenter.com that describes where the “real” art in dentistry lies. It’s not in the dentistry.

    Comment by Barry — June 12, 2013 @ 9:13 AM

  5. […] out…they pull me back in.  Last week I wrote a blog post warning readers to be aware of chauffeur knowledge.   Of course I am always on the lookout for potential chauffeurs, so when it came to my attention […]

    Pingback by The Truth About… | The TAO of Dentistry — June 17, 2013 @ 10:20 PM

  6. Filing “chauffeur knowledge” away as term for later use. Thanks, Barry!

    Comment by Alan Mead — June 18, 2013 @ 4:49 PM

  7. Lots of applications in dentistry. Take a look at my next post about Mehmet Oz… Your blog post inspired it.
    Thank You

    Comment by Barry — June 18, 2013 @ 5:17 PM

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